Monday, January 16, 2017

REVIEW: The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

The Borgia Bride
by Jeanne Kalogridis

Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Page Count: 509
Release Date: May 1, 2005
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: personal buy via Amazon

First attention getter: synopsis


From GoodReads:

Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city's opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare's irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias' sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 5

This book got me so into the Italian Renaissance and its politics that after finishing, I started watching the new Medici series on Netflix and from that I went into the Borgias. Let's just say, that watching that series after finishing this book was a real eye-opener and fun watch. LOL. This book was my first introduction to the author, and it was a beautiful one. The book draws you in with a lush setting and characters that never fall neatly into evil or good. I loved every aspect of it.

I don't read many works from the Italian Renaissance era; I think I need to rectify that ASAP after reading this one. I felt like I experienced every moment with the characters. From the sun-dappled shores of southern Italy to the hustle and bustle of massive Rome to the deadly intrigues of both, this book draws the reader into the past like a great historical fiction should. The author pays attention to the little detail along with the grand historical events.

I love Sacha! She's such a strong character with a great capacity to love and hate in equal measure. She'll go to incredible lengths to protect the ones she loves and revenge those betrayed. I love that she's as capable of murder as she is comfort; it's not often that we see one character with the capacity for both in equal measure. Her quick intelligence, bright political acumen, and survival instinct round out her brilliant personality.

All the other characters that round out this gang of misfits also shine bright. Cesare is one of those characters that you love to hate. He's just as likely to stab you in the back as he is to be devoted to you. In the end, he's only looking out for numero uno. All the other background characters are as three dimensional as Cesare and Sancha, giving us a cast of strong personalities to carry off this intrigue filled story.

While this is my first foray into the author’s works, it won't be my last. She has won me over with her lush historical setting and phenomenal characters. She knows how to tell a suspenseful story while giving character development as strong a footing. I would highly recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction, especially lovers of the Italian Renaissance. It got me more interested into the source material, and I can't find any better complement to a historical fiction than that.

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